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Raising a Family on Pine

April 6, 2010

by Jennifer Finn

ALBANY, NY- – What was once Christine Carter’s childhood home on South Pine Avenue, she now shares with her husband and three children. The young Carter family have lived in the flat about seven years and Christine’s mother and sister live downstairs.

Carter, 25, and her husband, Jermaine, 27, met in high school. They are satisfied that they have found a solid area to raise their three children – Mariah, 6, Shaun, 2, and Thomas, 1.

“In the summer we are at the park every day,” Christine said. The couple also said that there are at least three parks within walking distance around them including Ridgefield Park, Buckingham Pond, and a playground right on South Allen Street.  “It’s great that the school is so close,” said Carter. She describes herself as a homemaker but Jermaine has titled her the ‘house general’.

“She gives a command and the kids do it,” he said. Mariah attends Pine Hills Elementary school, and her mother walks her there everyday with Shaun and Thomas. The family walk keeps their family close to one another.  Mariah, a kindergartener, recently announced that she can read and likes to do so. “It’s a good thing,” Jermaine said laughing as Mariah jumped around in her pajamas. During most days Jermaine works at The Stadium, a store in Crossgates Mall. He typically puts in around 35 hours a week but during the Christmas season it can go up to 80 hours a week. Still, when he gets home from work he is not above changing diapers and helping mom with the kids.

The house is close to the bus line, which aids both parents in their everyday lives. They are also nearby a police station which turned out not to be their police station.

” Jermaine’s phone went missing and when we went to Center Station to file a report and they told us to go to the South station,” said Carter, who lives within easy walking distance from the police building at Western and Madison. South Station is downtown on Broad Street, not exactly a walk away like Center Station. Carter said that she enjoyed growing up here but admits that she does see the neighborhood changing.

“More college kids are moving in and there are less families with children on the street then there used to be,” she said. There are still many children in the neighborhood for her children to play with but she is unsure how much longer that will be the situation. The couple said teenagers have contributed to a surge in vandalism in the area.

“There has been rocks thrown through house and car windows, they dump leaf bags on people’s lawns, and stole pumpkins during Halloween,” she said. However, the couple said that there is no problem with guns or violence and the crimes seem to be a result of lack of parental supervision.

“It’s still a good neighborhood for families. There are not a lot of places around here where you can’t just let your kids go out and play, but here you can,” she said. They take advantage of the nearby library and Madison Theater.

“I like the Madison,” Jermaine said. Tickets prices are more reasonable than the Regal movie theaters in the malls. A ticket at the Madison could cost around $7 to $8 depending on the time of day you attend. This may seem like a lot but when compared to the others, and with movie prices expected to increase for Regal, it’s a steal. While the low neighborhood business prices are a plus the couple does admit there is a bit of a disadvantage.

“The area is really expensive to live in, especially when renting, some of the apartments can start at $1,200 a month,” Carter said. Jermaine said that, “sometimes the price is worth it for the house but sometimes it’s not.” The couple agrees that the price could be a result of living away from the student area of the Pine Hills and that the area they live in is a prime locale if you have children.

“In the summer when you go and stand outside it is so quiet you just hear crickets,” said Carter. The couple explains that if they ever did move out of their current house they would move right down the street. “There are just so many good places around here if you have a family,” Carter said.



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